MSRI proudly says, We’re Open!

Misha Khan

Photo by Steve Acker

Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute (MSRI) had its big opening Friday morning and welcomed all marine life lovers to come join them.

The opening ceremony took place right outside the new MSRI building on the St. John’s riverfront, and excutive director, Quinton White, had good reason to be tearful during his speech.

The building is the latest edition on the JU campus and offers marine science majors their own space with better labs and equipment, all in an effort to understand the wide variety of marine life in more depth. The entire building is well air- conditioned, spacious, and environmentally friendly. It is even well equipped with comfortable student lounges with a river front view for JU students to take a breather and relax.

The marine science majors were all clearly excited about the building and the research they will be able to accomplish with all the new resources available to them.

For transfer student Christopher Pruitt Jr., the atmosphere of the place is enough of an improvement,

“I think that this building will help the research and it is energy efficient. It is basically all I could have asked for.”

The feeling is mutual for senior Tina Jackson who agrees the new MSRI is a step-up from the Reid Building,

“I love it! We have better equipment, modernized equipment. We are right across from all the professors and are all in one place. We have a kitchen if I need a snack or a lounge I want to relax in. The professors are even able to have lot more student researchers and this building makes it all more convenient. I love it!”

For the marine science faculty, the building is likely a dream come true. Dan McCarthy, associate professor of biology, believes the facility will be more effective and will help them learn more about the environmental factors.

“It can surprise you how much we don’t know about our own backyard. In order to know what exists now, we need to know what existed before. The new equipment will help us achieve that,” McCarthy said.

The MSRI team is not quite done yet.  White has plans of boardwalks, docks, and outdoor classrooms. He wants the Marine Science department to always have something new for its incoming students. The building can be visited by anyone wanting to relax while looking out at the river.

“We had this idea around 18 years ago, and the finished building exceeds my expectations,” White said. “I used the word synergy a lot in my speech because it is actually a group effort. We are all part of a team and working together. We are even training high school students now, and the people are working together.”